Tag Archives: censorship

RIP Nig… , sorry, Fido

Awareness of what is now seen as the stained and inhuman history of individuals, organisations and countries in a position to exploit and despoil nations, beliefs and the environment has led to increasing demands for both recognition of the nature of same, and in some cases reparations for, past deeds.

Whilst there can be some element of empathy for this, the targets are inevitably a bitty, hit and miss, illogical minority of the totality of injustices of the past. The simple fact is that those same actions were inextricably entangled with the current evolved structure of a country; part of its history, for good or ill. For example, the Industrial Revolution in the UK can be mapped back directly to both slavery and the subjugation of India, for example. How can that now be undone?

However, what is potentially more difficult to have empathy with is the the increasing attempts to re-write history, invoking an Orwellian vision of the ‘Ministry of Truth’. This tendency is overt is some cases, but in others it is diffusing with subtlety through governmental and institutional structures.

In 1955, a film called The Dam Busters was made, a belatedly patriotic tale of an otherwise wholly inconsequential attack on German infrastructure. The hero (and all war films need the ‘hero’) was Guy Gibson VC, and the point of this post is that in the story he had a dog called ‘Nigger’. Whether he did actually call it Nigger (or indeed, had a dog) is historically irrelevant, but this was the name used in the film. That’s a matter of record and fact. It is in time past. It cannot be changed.

It’s perfectly acceptable for people to now note that by current social mores the name is retrospectively seen as offensive if uttered by white persons (but oddly not coloured people). However, what Grumpy finds to be a dangerous trend by (in this case) the RAF is an attempt to remove a record of this by changing the name on a memorial dog tombstone at Scampton air base to something else. If history can be air-brushed for this, it is an alarming precedent for governments and others to re-write facts on more or less anything.

To put things in context, one of the currently successful women rappers (singers?) is a lady called Nicki Minaj. She released a song called ‘Looking ass,’ which had critical acclaim, and was presumably heard repeatedly on radio and seen in a video by the teenage consumers of such music. She used the word ‘Nigga’ (and Niggaz) no less than 40 times in two verses. That’s actually quite a feat, but the lyrics are typified by “Look at y’all niggas, niggas, look at y’all niggas” and “Pussy, you tried, pussy ass nigga you lie, pussy ass nigga, you high” {and no, Grumpy has absolutely no idea what that all means.}

Where is the furore ? Was the song banned in the UK ? Did the government leap in to prevent its youth from being exposed to this? Not at all – a 12 year old girl can buy it with explicit lyrics from Amazon today. Inconsistency is the father of disorder, and Grumpy will return to this topic in later posts.